NEWTON GROVE — For those who travel U.S. 701 north from Clinton to access Interstate 40, one might not be aware of what others already know in the town of Newton Grove and surrounding areas. Because if you continue traveling past the I-40 interchange, you will happen upon the Parkside Sports Grille, adjacent to Weeks Park in Newton Grove.
The Parkside Sports Grille recently celebrated its two-year anniversary. The casual dining restaurant opened Jan. 31, 2014 by owner Kent Sutton, with the assistance of former general manager Johnny Kaleel.
“It’s been a fun, and exciting two years since we opened on Super Bowl weekend in 2014,” Sutton remarked. “It is the culmination of a lot of effort and support from family members, and friends and staff. I want to thank everyone from the Newton Grove area who has, and continues to support Parkside. I hope the grill is considered an asset to the community.”
The property (formerly Two Dogs Pizza) underwent a complete renovation, with the existing building being updated with a modern kitchen, as well as expanding what once was a limited seating area. An additional bar (with all ABC permits) and dining room were added to the rear of the building, along with an outdoor patio.
The sports-themed concept for the restaurant isn’t based on promoting pro and college teams; instead, the décor promotes the three local high schools in the Newton Grove area: Hobbton, Midway and South Johnston. The décor consists of framed team jerseys and helmets donated by the three schools, along with photography of student-athletes in action, donated by local free-lance photographer David Johnson, who also works with The Sampson Independent.
Sutton is a 1983 Hobbton High School graduate and has resided in the Newton Grove area most of his life.
“I wanted somewhere that the locals could identify with,” Sutton noted. “Most people who live in this area, whether it’s Sampson or Johnston County, attended one of those three high schools. In addition, I wanted a family-friendly atmosphere where adults and kids both feel at home.”
While the menu does offer most of the sports pub standard fare, such as wings and burgers, there are a variety of additional sandwiches and entrees to choose from – ranging from salads, soups and pasta dishes. In addition to the beef and chicken choices, Parkside also offers diners several seafood options including grilled mahi-mahi, shrimp (grilled or fried), and lumped back-fin crab cakes.
“One of the reasons, I named it the Parkside Sports Grille, is I didn’t want to be known as a typical sports bar,” Sutton added. “We cook on an open flame, charbroiling most of our meats. We offer fresh hand-cut rib eyes, and Korean beef tips. In addition, our hamburger steaks and burgers are made from fresh ground beef. All of our chicken portions are fresh, and hand cut as well.”
The bar and patio areas provide the Newton Grove area with entertainment options as well. Once a month, on the third Friday, DJ Ross Kimbro, provides locals the chance to dance and Karaoke. In addition, live entertainment is offered throughout the summer with solo performers singing and playing acoustic guitar.
“Having lived here most of my life, I wanted to provide people an option for good food and entertainment, without having to travel forty or fifty miles,” Sutton added. “Newton Grove is situated such, that in addition to Newton Grove, our target market consists of the nearby communities in Sampson, Harnett, Johnston, Wayne and Duplin counties. So, now instead of traveling an hour to find something to do, you can now find it within fifteen to twenty minutes.”
Currently, Parkside is open nightly at 5 p.m., while offering lunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; however, beginning Monday, Feb. 15, Parkside will begin their new operating hours of providing lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
For more information check Facebook or go to www.parksidesportsgrille.com.